23 November 2013

Yunnan, and undoubtedly most of China, is strewn with propaganda billboards, urging people not to kill their daughters in favour of a son, to form a tight society, or to entice people to send their children to Harvard. Matthew Hartzell over at his blog has just posted a splendid collection of them. My favourite is undoubtedly the one about poverty below, one we came across together on our ride through Malipo county in Wenshan Zhuang and Miao autonomous prefecture in Yunnan province. It reads:

If the poor don’t receive education,
Poverty’s root will be difficult to eradicate;
If the rich don’t value education,
They won’t be rich for long.

Apart from the beautiful message (which seems to have fallen on deaf ears – Wenshan is one of Yunnan’s poorer prefectures), it also beautifully illustrates how insanely compact Chinese can be. 25 English words fit in a mere 16 characters.

Chinese propaganda billboard about poverty
Billboard linking education and poverty in Wenshan prefecture. Photo by Matthew Hartzell

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